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Retention, Leadership

Make Caregiver Leave an Asset for Everyone

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe is raising the bar on law firm leave policies. 

In 2015, Orrick announced that it would offer 22 weeks of paid primary caregiver leave, with the option of nine months of total leave. For Mitchell Zuklie, LCLD Member and Orrick's Chairman and CEO, it’s way to retain talented people at all levels, not just women.

“It’s meant to be a primary caregiver policy, and it’s crafted to make sure that people are not stigmatized, regardless of their gender,” Zuklie said of Orrick’s new leave policy. “We’re not living in the days of Leave It to Beaver – families have different constructs as to who is in charge of taking care of the children.”

Orrick’s policy is one of the most generous law firm leave policies in the country. Steps have also been taken to ease transitions for lawyers on parental leave, with the firm’s Chief Talent Officer, Siobhan Handley, acting as a firm-wide “leave liaison” and providing a variety of flexible work arrangements. 

Women @Orrick from Orrick on Vimeo.

Since the policy was updated in 2015, the number of both men and women taking parental leave has increased slightly, but what’s perhaps more telling is that there has been a definite increase in people taking the full 22 weeks and opting to use flexible work arrangements after the 22 weeks.

“We’re thinking really hard about how to be the best law firm in the world to work for,” said Handley. In 2016, the firm was recognized for just that by Fortune 100 and Vault.

For more information, contact Siobhan Handley.


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